Former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Prof. Chukwuma Soludo says oil has been a curse to Nigeria and that, with the exception of Lagos State, the other 35 are unviable.
Soludo made the assertion while delivering the distinguished annual lecture entitled "A Nigeria without oil - toward an agenda for sustainable development" to senior executive course 34 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, near Jos in Plateau State.
According to him, the present politicians, unlike the ones during the regional governments, do not build industries or palm plantations for government to generate revenue, adding that, like manna from heaven, "oil money simply flows."
He noted that a governor of a state could afford to squeeze the industries owned by his political opponents out of existence because he does not need the tax revenue from such companies.
For jobs, the former CBN governor further said, governors could literally employ any number they wanted in the public service provided the rent continued to flow, pointing out that there was no incentive to be productive or to actively promote production-baked cake.
Soludo said the cheap rents provided by oil and the distributive state structures meant that a large proportion of the productive population was lured out of productive activities into briefcase-carrying suppliers and rent-seeking politicians in the country.
He lamented that the huge funds in servicing the wasteful bureaucracies (erected as distribution pipes of the oil rents) means that there are little resources available for investment. He said it was not an accident that non-oil export had not exceeded 5 per cent of total export since 1970.